MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An unexpected $5 million decline in tuition revenue has University of Hawaii-Manoa officials looking for ways to trim its costs. But the budget cuts are expected to be less severe than those previously proposed.
Tuition revenues are down because there are 500 fewer students this year, prompting interim Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman to appoint a special budget committee.
"If we could cut expenditures by four or five million dollars, we would be flying level," he said.
That's less than half the $10 million in cuts proposed by former Chancellor Tom Apple. And it won't likely include layoffs. The UH-Manoa annual budget is about $840 million a year.
Bley-Vroman said campus expenses have been rising steadily while tuition revenues have generally remained flat in recent years. Utility costs and faculty raises have increased by about $20 million since 2010, he said.
"If you really look at the numbers how do you pay for basic things such as electricity and even administrative and maintenance staff," said State Rep. Isaac Choy.
"You have nothing left for human resources like professors."
The interim Chancellor also took issue with a recent media report, saying that the university faces a $31 million deficit in tuition revenue.
He said the financial picture is not as severe as that and that the campus can count on reserves of about $21 million that it built up in recent years.
"I just want people to know that the university is basically sound and that we're under certain constraints and we're working hard to fix those," he said.